There’s a shortage of the world’s most coveted whiskey

Pappy Van Winkle, one of the most sought after whiskies
Pappy Van Winkle, one of the most sought after whiskies

Speculators sell it for as much as ten times its retail cost. Billionaires hire additional staff just to hunt for it. Buffalo Trace’s Pappy Van Winkle bourbon remains the most sought after whiskey in the world. And it is only getting harder to find.

Pappy Van Winkle’s latest bottling of its 15-year-old whiskey will be even smaller than usual thanks to above average evaporation during the aging process, according to Town and Country.

“When bourbon ages over 15 years, much is lost to the angel’s share,” Buffalo Trace Distillery marketing director Kris Comstock told Town and Country. “Many of the 53 gallon oak barrels often yield less than 20 gallons. Unfortunately this year we experienced poor yields on the older Van Winkle whiskeys.”

And there is even more bad news: several of the older Pappy barrels did not meet quality standards resulting in a “drastic difference in volume.”

In total, there is only about half as much 20-year-old and 23-year-old Pappy and far less 15-year-old.

For years, whiskey devotees and the super rich have duked it for what many consider the world’s best bourbon. Each year before the new shipment arrives, the bottles will have been spoken for long before they hit the liquor store shelves. That means the only way to try Pappy is to know someone, or to find a bar that has managed to score a bottle. There is even an app called “Pappy Tracker” where fans can report sightings of the whiskey in the wild. (Pro tip: Tweeds Restaurant & Buffalo Bar in Riverhead is the location of the only TV commercial Pappy Van Winkle ever made, and they serve the full Pappy line at reasonable prices).

What’s left of the new batch of Pappy come out in November.